Twine is put to its best use by innovators. While the simple engine can make it easy for writers to engage with the gaming world, its relative simplicity makes it infinitely modifiable. Such is the case with Drosophilia. Made by Pippin Barr, Gordon Calleja, and Sidsel Hermansen, Drosophilia is a strange little game that plays with the strictures of Twine in a way that really shows the innovation of the medium.
Drosophilia was initially made for the Global Game Jam, but was featured as part of the online Twine exhibition Fear of Twine. It involves audio and visual accompaniment in the form of Youtube videos that play in the background. If possible, you’ll want to play this game when you have a lot of access to bandwidth — it was crippled on the library computers I initially played it on.
One of the most interesting features in Drosophilia are the cycling variables that change the way the story reads. Don’t want to have a Buzz Lightyear figurine on your desk? It will cycle through a variety of options, including a photos of your family or books. It’s an interesting look into player choice that few other games utilize.
The game is quick (or at least it appeared to be) with the variables and the text getting more garbled the more I interacted with it. I couldn’t tell if I was breaking the game, or if it was simply meant to function that way. You move between your office and the cafeteria, the background a steady hum of noise, slightly moving images distorting the text. It is best played with a pair of headphones and in a darkened room, so that you can best capture the full experience.
Drosophilia is available as part of the online exhibition Fear of Twine, and you can find it on the Fear of Twine website.